Breckenridge Texan

Former Breckenridge resident presents award to Dolly Parton

Former Breckenridge resident presents award to Dolly Parton
September 22
15:12 2023

Former Breckenridge and Eastland resident Gary Slade, appeared on stage with country music legend Dolly Parton on Sept. 9 during an awards presentation in the Showstreet Palace Theater at her Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Dolly Parton posed for a picture with Gary Slade backstage at the 2023 Golden Ticket Awards at Dollywood on Sept. 9, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (Photo by Curtis Hilbun/Dollywood)

Slade, owner and publisher of the amusement industry trade publication Amusement Today, hosts the annual Golden Ticket Awards ceremony for the amusement industry at a different park each year. This year, the two-day event was at Dollywood. More than 300 attendees were on hand for the awards presentation.

As the last category in the show order, Slade saved the best for last by honoring three people with the Legends Award. The three have been responsible for the success the theme park has had under the Dollywood brand after its early beginnings as Silver Dollar City. Along with Dolly Parton, Slade honored Jack Herschend and Pete Herschend, owners of the Tennessee park and founders of the original Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. The Herschend brothers were honored to receive Legend awards with their friend, Parton, and said their business relationship was a great one, one built on family, faith and a solid financial plan.

After the awards were handed out, Parton asked the packed house if they want to hear her sing. After a standing ovation, Patron came on stage and performed her hit song “9 To 5” with her two nieces Heidi Parton and Jada Star (who perform in the park) singing background. They had performed a duet of Parton’s hit “Jolene” earlier in the show.

Amusement Today’s Legends Series honors both parks and individuals for raising the bar so high, others are unable to match the level of innovation and success that was set — thus earning the title “Legends.”

Slade, a 1977 graduate of Breckenridge High School, was inducted into the NEAAPA Hall of Fame earlier this year.


Cutline, top photo: From left, Pete Herschend, Dolly Parton and Jack Herschend received the Legends Award from Gary Slade, right, during the annual Golden Ticket Awards earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Ron Gustafson/Amusement Today)






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